An hour a week can make a huge difference in the life of a youth.
Midland Mentors is a volunteer program focused on helping at-risk teenagers by matching them with a caring adult who will spend time with them routinely. The program is housed within Midland County's Juvenile Care Center, and seeks to provide impactful relationships to the youth currently in the center's Day Treatment Program.
Quality relationships give young people an opportunity to talk about issues they face. A mentor acts as a sounding board, someone who may not have all the answers or the ability to fix problems, but who listens with empathy and compassion. Caring adults help teenagers succeed by providing support, friendship, and guidance. Mentors teach teenagers how to make good choices in difficult times, and can so deeply impact a teen that they become more confident, helping them succeed in meeting their behavioral goals.
Being a mentor does not have to mean spending lots of money or showering the mentee with gifts. In fact, it is generally quite the opposite. Teens can benefit from the time they spend with mentors simply by taking a walk outside at a park, enjoying a hot beverage at a local coffee shop, going to a movie, or even grocery shopping and learning about the expectations of what being an adult in today's society can look like.
Statistics prove that kids with a mentor are 46% less likely to initiate drug use; 27% less likely to initiate alcohol use; and are 33% less likely to hit someone. Further, kids with mentors tend to have higher achievement in school and have better relationships with parents and peers.